In a horrific story, 21-year-old Bryan Cavanah was arrested for allegedly drowning a pit bull terrier in the Fairfield Civic Center pond. Witnesses say the man held the dog under the water until she didn’t resurface.
In a televised interview Tuesday night with Fox40 News, Cavanah and his father, who owned the dog, claims Bryan had a “transient epileptic seizure,” and he has no memory of the drowning. A poster on the Daily Republic website claiming to know Cavanah confirms the man has epilepsy.
If it’s true that this individual had some kind of seizure or medical issue that played a role in him drowning a dog, that doesn’t make the public feel safer. If he can do this to a dog and not know why he did it, then why can’t he do this to a child, several people have asked on the Fox40 website?
It’s a valid question. What happens should this man be free and it’s your dog or child nearby when he’s in distress?
But the other part of the story that’s caught a lot of people’s attention is the fact that apparently there were multiple witnesses to the drowning. I shared the Fairfield Police Department’s press release on the incident on my Facebook page when it happened and people naturally expressed their outrage, but also lamented the inaction on the part of onlookers.
So why didn’t witnesses to this horrific act physically intervene? After all, a homeless woman suspected of pouring beer down a lamb’s throat, swinging the animal by its legs, dropping it and kicking it in Vacaville this past May is awaiting trial. Onlookers took the lamb from her, called police and chased her down. Why didn’t that happen at the Civic Center pond?
Was it the Bystander Effect where, ironically, the presence of multiple witnesses makes intervention less likely? Did they fear for their own safety? Did they fear the dog? Perhaps they had children with them to protect. Maybe those who called 911 figured the police would arrive and stop it given the close proximity of the police station.
As a dog lover, I would’ve physically intervened. But of course, it’s easy for those of us who weren’t there to say what we would’ve done in hindsight. One witness who spoke to the DR says she thought the suspect was playing with the dog. No doubt if I were there in that beautiful setting, the pond where my oldest brother was married, I probably would’ve initially assumed the guy was playing with the dog, too.
Regardless, Fairfield police are obviously going to advise against anyone confronting someone committing a crime like this.
In the end, no amount of “what ifs” is going to change the outcome. From here we can only hope the public is protected from this individual, he gets whatever help he needs, and we keep a more vigilant eye while enjoying our local parks. Peace.
Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at email@example.com.